Douthat on Tebow – This is a great article and if a Lutheran who is probably more religious than spiritual can have a mysticism this is it. The Bible is a collection of stories about people told by God in which God reveals the meaning of their existence. Our lives also have an author and a meaning. And it is not usually finding the plot line that is tough, although our age along with our authors outside of the Young Adult ghetto seems to have trouble with plot. No, getting the plot is not hard, but living it is what we so often refuse. Tim Tebow seems to know the plot and live it with gusto.
Nothing discredits religion quite like the gap that often yawns between what believers profess and how they live. With Tebow, that gap seems so narrow as to be invisible. (“There’s not an ounce of artifice or phoniness or Hollywood in this kid Tebow,” ESPN’s Rick Reilly wrote last year of the quarterback’s charitable works, “and I’ve looked everywhere for it.”) He fascinates, in part, because he behaves — at least in public, and at least for now — the way one would expect more Christians to behave if their faith were really true.
But the fascination doesn’t end there. Tebow’s religion doesn’t just promise a path to personal transformation. It claims that every human life is actually a story with an Author, and that a genuinely Christian life should make that divine Authorship manifest.
The WSJ New York Culture Desk (Might be gated) on a sacred music director, organist and musics place in a congregation called to the city. A quote that ties into that same mysticism above.
“I believe that everyone is talented,” the 51-year-old Iowa native told me over lunch. “The great shame is that many, many people don’t find out what their talent is. If you do find out, it’s the greatest opportunity in the world. It comes from a spiritual point—it’s God-given. So if you connect to that, it’s your obligation to develop it
And Pop Culture Wouldn’t be complete this week without the Hunger Games. I haven’t seen much really good commentary. Douthat above works it into Tebow. Here is a clear eyed look from a religious standpoint that shouldn’t be lost. A couple of comments. 1) The first book of the trilogy is such a tight and compelling read that when I read it last summer I stayed up all night just to finish it. The 2nd/3rd are not quite as good, but I plowed through them just to see where the author was taking it all. The first book was that compelling a story to impel the reading of two more. Although by book three I was on fumes. 2) It is not that hard to read Peeta as a Christ figure, although I’d prefer to read him as Peter (i.e. church), in that the witness is never as clear and not without faults. 3) But even that is a stretch as the article is correct that God just isn’t in the Hunger Games, at least not explicitly. I talked about the book with a congregant shortly after I read it. Trying to fill in that god gap what overwhelmed me was the blood and soil conservatism of the book. The lesson seemed to be everything beyond your People and your Soil will fail. The Blood and the Soil will also fail, but they are yours. An anti-transcendent transcendence, a subsuming of self into The People, into the Land. Which eventually everything returns to the land. It is a message ultimately of the law and the failure of the law. Even the undefeated Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, can’t fight her way out of this. Even Katniss just ends up used. Only Peeta whose goal was love doesn’t care. In that sense the Hunger Games is perfect for this day and age that has rejected or refused to hear to gospel. When you don’t hear the gospel all you’ve got is the law, which can’t save, but still it demands its tribute. The books are a clear eyed presentation of the limits of the law and at best are a sign pointing to what is missing without ever spelling it out. As a preacher, they are a proclamation of the law without its fulfillment.